Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Developer Seeks City Loan for Chase Plan

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Developer Seeks City Loan for Chase Plan

Article excerpt

Developer William S. Stallings, who says he's tired of jogging past the empty Chase Hotel every day, wants to reopen it if the city of St. Louis will give him a $4 million loan.

Stallings proposes to remake the landmark hotel and two smaller adjoining buildings into a 250-room apartment and commercial complex. He also wants to reopen several once-popular restaurants.

As part of a $32 million plan, he and his father, William H. Stallings, would buy the Chase and the adjoining Park Plaza tower - the latter already successfully renovated for apartments. They'd also buy the adjoining Chester Apartments and an annex building, and the York parking garage.

What's missing, Stallings said, is the $4 million loan he is seeking from the St. Louis Development Corp. Stallings said he already had about $7 million in equity and a commitment for mortgage money from the American Capital Resource company in Atlanta.

"If we can get the $4 million, it's a done deal," Stallings said. "If not, it's going to be tough."

He wants to start construction in June so part of the complex could be open by fall.

GE Capital of Fairfield, Conn., a subsidiary of the General Electric Corp., began acquiring what was then the Chase-Park Plaza Hotel in the early 1980s. GE then spent $12 million to renovate the 28-story Park Plaza with 265 apartments, renting for $460 to $2,900 a month. But in 1989, GE closed the Chase. Its occupancy kept declining as newer hotels opened in downtown and Clayton.

Today, only the Chase's Tenderloin Room restaurant is open. The Park Plaza is nearly filled and has a waiting list.

Jim Smith, who handles the GE account for the Nooney Krombach real estate firm, said GE had agreed to sell to Stallings for a price "in the ballpark" of $22 million.

Virginia Kelly, a spokeswomen for the St. Louis Development Corp., said officials there had yet to see what Stallings has in mind. …

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